The Beertägerl is a project that was realized at the Munich University of Applied Sciences during the winter semester 2015/16.
It is a special version of a beer mat that uses a sensor to measure beer temperature. This measure is then transferred to a smartphone via NFC and can be accessed after installing a purpose-programmed app. Illumination of the beer by an OLED-Display indicates that the Beertägerl and the Smartphone are connected. This opens up further possible functions of the Beertägerl which are elaborated on below (see chapter “Future Applications/Outlook”).
The project team consisted of two groups. Group Marketing (8 members) and group Technology (6 members). Because the technical realization of the project turned out to be more time and resource consuming than anticipated, several members of group Marketing supported the technology group in the course of the project.
The main task of group Marketing was to develop an innovative and forward-looking concept for a product involving NFC-technology. The group designed the Beertägerl (including its functions) as well as the Website. In addition it organized the team’s participation in the OE-A contest. Group Technology checked the concept for technical feasibility and finally realized the production of the demonstrator i.e. its print and the programming of its functions.
The project was realized as a part of the master programme “Printmedien, Technologie und Management” (printmedia, technology and management) within the scope of the course “Printmedienprojekt Management” (Management of a printmedia project). It was advised by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Moosheimer.
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a wireless transmission technology. It enables the exchange of data between electronic devices. Just as with the very similar RFID-technology, data are transmitted via electromagnetic waves.
NFC- and RFID-systems consist of a transponder and a reader. The technologies differ in manufacturing processes, cost, storage capacities, frequencies and, in particular, their range.
In contrast to RFID, the range of NFC is only a few centimeters. Due to its restricted range NFC is mainly used for safely transferring data across short distances.
We started with collecting information about NFC-technology and OLED. Subsequent to this we did an extensive market research concerning profitability, competitors, big players, cooperative partners, applications, etc. We focused in particular on current and possible future uses of NFC and OLED-Displays as well as on competing technologies.
Based on this knowledge and in close cooperation with group Technology, we developed our ideas. Like that, we ensured that our concept would be feasible and useful, both economically and technically.
Concept development took more time than expected because we were looking for an innovative product which combines NFC and OLED in a useful and unique manner.
Product 1 – Inlay with technology
The construction of the inlay of the Beertagerl turned out to be a complex process. The challenge was to make it as small and thin as possible. The final inlay measures 23×12,3×0,45 cm. It consists of three thin cardboard layers. The gaps for the electronic parts are laser-cut.
- two different chips
- a OLED-Display
- eight batteries
- printed silverlines
inlay with chip and batteries
inlay with chip and OLED
The first Chip is a NFC-Chip which enables communication between the Beertägerl and a smartphone. It features an antenna coil which supplies the chip with energy from the smartphone.
The second chip is an Arduino-microcontroller which acts as an operating interface. It contains a sensor which measures the temperature of the beer and transfers this measure to the NFC-chip. In addition it controls the OLED-Display. Eight 3V-button cell batteries supply the OLED-Display with energy.
The three components are connected with silverlines, which have been printed on a screen printing machine.
A 10×10 cm OLED-Display by LG is used in the Beertagerl for the illumination of the glass of beer. For the Beertägerl we removed the frame of the OLED and used a stencil to reduce the size of the screen. By positing a printed film on top of the OLED-Display, we achieved an additional light effect.
Product 2 – Printed Slipcase
The slipcase for the inlay is printed with an electrophotographic printer. To upgrade the look and feel and to protect it against liquids and external action, it is also foil-coated.
slipcase after printing and cutting
We designed a flyer which explains the parts and functions of the Beertägerl and which acts as a manual for the users. The flyer was printed using an electrophotographic printer.
Its design reflects the design of the Beertägerl:
flyer before and after lasering
Future Applications / Outlook
The interaction between Beertägerl and smartphone opens up a range of additional possible applications of our product that could be realized in the future.
A possible scenario is the following: The smartphone is placed on the Beertägerl and is automatically connected to the local WIFI. In case the app hasn’t been downloaded yet, the Play-Store opens up. The free use of the WIFI could be made dependent on the download of the app. This would encourage the use of the other functions of the app, in particular measuring the beer temperature as its central feature.
This feature could, for instance, be easily complemented by information on the location in which the Beertägerl is currently used like the menu including an order option, an event calendar with a reservation option or a feedback function.
In the long run the Beertägerl and its possible features could change the experience of going to a bar or restaurant and of course the experience of drinking beer.
Taking into account how printing technologies for electronic parts are currently developing, our vision of the Beertägerl of the future is as follows: It consists of an environmentally friendly, flexible, lightweight and cost-efficient material. This will become possible because OLED, sensors and batteries will be printable at low cost. This will render the Beertägerl an attractive product for beverage companies, gastronomes and their guests.
Vision – front
Vision – back
The project was realized at the Munich University of Applied Sciences during the winter semester 2015/16 in a team of 14 students.
Group Advisor: Prof. Dr. Ulrich Moosheimer